Breast cancer is affecting more women every year. Wealthier countries have a higher survival rate than the poorer nations. It is one of the most common invasive Cancers in women. Some of the symptoms include the formation of lumps on the breast, discharges from the nipple area and for some, the breast thickens. Breast cancer can be caused due to our lifestyles factors such as excess intake of alcohol, hormonal changes and it can even be genetic. Sometimes you might find lumps on your breast, but do not be alarmed as lumps are formed for various reasons, and they might not be cancerous. There is a wide range of treatment of breast cancer and some of them are radiation therapy, chemotherapy and it can also be treated via surgical methods.
Stages of breast cancer:
The stages of cancer are assigned based on the size of a tumour that is formed. It is also based on the parts of the body that it has spread. Breast cancer has four stages:
Stage 0: At stage 0, the cancerous cells are limited to the duct and have not spread anywhere. Stage 0 is also known as ductal carcinoma.
Stage 1: In stage one, the lump is about 2 cm, but the cells have not affected any nearby lymph nodes.
Stage 2: Tumour is slightly bigger than 2 cm, and it starts to affect the lymph nodes nearby.
Stage 3: Stage 3 is when a tumour is about 5 cm, and it has spread to the lymph bodies that are near a tumour.
Stage 4: Stage 4 is very crucial; cancer spreads to other organs in the body.
Treatment for breast cancer:
Treatment for breast cancer will depend on the type and stage of cancer. It also depends on the sensitivity of a tumour to hormones and the patient’s age and health. Some of the options include chemotherapy, targeted drug therapy, hormone therapy, radiation therapy and surgery.
There are various procedures like lumpectomy, mastectomy, sentinel node biopsy and axillary lymph node dissection.
Lumpectomy: Tumour is removed, and also a small portion of healthy tissue around it is removed so that it can prevent the spread of cancer.
Mastectomy: The surgeons remove the ducts, lobules, areola, nipple, fatty tissue and even some skin.
Sentinel node biopsy: It is the removal of one lymph node so that the cancerous tissue does not spread through the lymphatic system.
Radiation is targeted at a tumour to destroy cancer cells. The radiation therapy is mostly done after the surgery so that it can kill the remaining cancer cells. Some of the side effects include fatigue, irritation and darkening of the skin.
Cytotoxic drugs are used to kill the malignant cells if there are chances for it to spread to other areas. Chemo is done to shrink a tumour before the surgery to make the removal of a tumour easier. Chemotherapy can be very stressful, and the patient becomes very weak in the procedure.